"That was when I realized that life was a multiple-choice test with two answers: Male or Female. And I was None of the Above."The tabloids premise cleverly disguises the educational content in this outstanding book for teens. I.W. Gregorio is a pen name for the urological surgeon Dr. Ilene Wong, who was inspired by a real patient and also by the controversy about World Champion runner Caster Semenya. None of the Above has easy to understand explanations about what being intersex entails. Gender is described as having three components: chromosomes, physiology and sexual identity. The moral lesson is more nuanced.
"If there's one thing I learned from my dad leaving my mom, it's that love isn't a choice. You fall for the person, not their chromosomes."The writing is strong for a debut, but None of the Above is not a literary novel nor does it try to be one. The plot is well paced and easy to follow, clearly geared for reluctant readers. The main characters are likable and well developed but aren't especially quirky. Kristin herself is quite a typical teen who likes guys, parties and running/hurdling. By making her intersex protagonist so normal, the author reinforces the message that intersex people are not freaks. The Gossip Girl writing style means this book will reach more readers and hopefully make life easier for intersex teens.
I'd strongly recommend None of the Above to Sexual Education teachers and to all teenagers aged fourteen and up. This book isn't a kinky story about exploring deviant sexuality. Kristin feels 100% female and only wants to be normal. Her realistic story delivers a powerful message about identity, tolerance and love, which will resonate with any teen who doesn't quite fit in at school. Adults who are looking for a literary novel with an intersex protagonist should read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, one of my favorite books.
Reviewer's Disclosure: I purchased the ebook on its release date April 7, 2015 and was not compensated for this review. I'm a supporting member of We Need Diverse Books of which I.W. Gregorio is vice president.
|Popham Beach, Maine in April|